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A few weeks ago my good friend Robbie Booker was in town – a capstone to his cross country tour visiting traders in US. It was a pleasure to spend an afternoon with him, to catch up on old gossip and to of course brainstorm – as we inevitably do whenever we get together – about the next big thing in the markets.
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I teased him mercilessly about being the Jack Kerouac of forex, but deep down I must admit that I was envious of his sense of adventure and his willingness to explore. Rob met with hundreds of traders along the way. I followed his trip avidly on Youtube, but one particular visit he made changed my trading forever.
One of Rob’s travelogue episodes is called the Meticulous Trader and it shows a guy who has cataloges every system and every trade he makes. The gentleman has a massive white board in his office and he writes down every single action that he makes in markets.
My own office is full of whiteboards, but until I saw that episode I never thought of using them to record my day to day activity in the market. I know that as traders we are supposed to keep diaries of all our activities -ideally in an Excel format – but how many of us have the discipline to do so?
For me writing notes and reconciling trades in Excel has all the appeal of being a Medieval scribe. No matter how many I times I tell myself to do it, I never do and never will. Whiteboards however are easy and fun. They are tactile. You can use different color markers to delineate your thoughts and you can write in big dramatic strokes the key points that you want to remember. At the end of the week when the whiteboard is full I simply take a snapshot with my Iphone and erase it. I am that lazy.
Despite this rather haphazard approach to record keeping, the whiteboard has had a tremendous impact on my personal trading by allowing me to have birds eye view of all my market activity. As traders we inevitably tend to get obsessed with a single trade or a malfunctioning strategy and quickly lose all perspective. By allowing me to booth zero in and zoom out on my trading, the whiteboard has had a profound affect on my attitude, making me much less susceptible to the manic/depressive swings of the market.
As one of my subs in our daily trading webinars remarked this week, “You can’t manage what you can’t measure.” The whiteboard has turned out to be a very powerful management tool in my own trading journey. Next week I’ll share some of the lessons it taught me.